A sunny view over the jungle in Borneo, Indonesia

Borneo Burning: Deforestation, El Nino, Reforestation

Wednesday 3rd February 2016; 2.00 - 4.00pm; Room B.13, 32 Lincoln’s Inn Field (32L)
Speaker: Dr Roger Montgomery; Chair: Dr Kirsten Schulze

Loss of forest, especially primary (old) forest, has become a major issue once again in Indonesia. This rainy season (2015/2016) the loss of forest has been particularly severe, especially on the western (and normally quite wet) islands of Borneo and Sumatera. Indonesia is experiencing a major El Nino event, which is becoming more frequent, drying the forests. Rains which should have started in October or November did not arrive until much later if at all. Fires burned out of control for months. The first part of this presentation will examine recent evidence on deforestation, the cause and impact of El Nino.

The second part of this talk will then turn to surprising areas where tree planting has been a major success. An innovative approach to poverty reduction has introduced an agro-forestry variant of sloping agricultural land technology among the rural population of an upland district known for wide-spread malnutrition on the island of Timor, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The technique proved so successful that 8.5 million trees were planted and there have been no reports of malnutrition in the participants’ villages since 2010.

Download and listen to the podcast here



Roger Montgomery is former Fellow of the Asia Research Centre, LSE.




Kirsten Schulze is Deputy Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre and Associate Professor in International History at LSE.